Welcome to Larp Life – where we discuss larp, larpers, and all the issues therein. Larp has become not only a hobby – but a way of life – for some of its fans; here we discuss the in’s, out’s, do’s, and do not’s of larp culture in general.
Before we get into the core of this article’s issue – allow me to introduce myself. I’ve only been officially larping a short time – about three years – but I’ve played a collection of five games across the south east, and am currently on staff for a period fantasy game. I’ve played roleplaying games the better part of my life, including Dungeons and Dragons as well as a World of Warcraft roleplay server for ten years. I’ve cosplayed and character acted for well over a decade. I know a thing or seven.
In this issue of Larp Life – I want to talk about “I’m bored.”
I hear this complaint at almost all larps I’ve played or staff – and I’m just going to start off with my personal draconian opinion:
If you are bored, that is your fault.
Larp: Expectations vs Reality
For those of you who haven’t larped before – or perhaps have and don’t know what goes on “behind the curtain” – mods and entertainment take a while. Since we are, in fact, fabricating an entire world for you to play in – we have to physically and actually make it. Monsters have to be dressed and made up, buildings have to be rearranged, stats and roleplay have to be assigned. And we have to make sure the PC’s are in the right place at the right time to engage.
So what does that mean for players? That you will have down time.
Now, what you do with that down time is up to you. Think of yourself as a real person in that world. Hell, think of yourself as a real person in this world – if you sit at home or in a bar all by yourself staring at the floor: when was the last time adventure walked up and kicked you in the face?
Larp is life imitating art imitating life. We say that we want to be someone or something else in a “real” world – and with that, you have to also understand that real worlds can be boring. While you are waiting in some in play down time for monsters to respawn, new npcs to get made up, or mods to launch – the onus of entertainment responsibility falls upon your shoulders to start your own trouble.
But Shatter – I paid to be entertained! Yes. Yes you did. And you are being entertained by staff members who are doing their absolute best to create an ENTIRE WORLD around you. You also paid to be another person in another place. You also paid for an experience. And some of that experience falls on you to create.
What does this have to do with anything?
Well, throughout all the games I have played and been a part of – there is a common thread running through all of them: entitlement.
There are larpers who excel and larpers who tread water. There are larpers who are entertained and those who are not. Often times in petty dramatic scuffles – accusations of favoritism or jealousy rear their ugly heads. So lets look at that regarding entitlement, yeah?
Think to “that person” in your larp – the staff and plot darling. The one who is involved in almost everything, yet you don’t understand why?
What is their larp play-style?
-engage other players?
-take command of their own down time?
-physrep their persons and spaces to the best of their abilities?
-interact with staff, npcs, and story tellers in a way that makes their jobs more fun and entertaining to do?
-spread their personal plot to others by casting a wide net and share information?
-keep “in play” in play?
If the answer to most of those is “yes” – I think we have found our answer.
Entertainment in a game goes to the go-getters and the easily interacted with. Lone-wolf players who choose not to include themselves in anything are near impossible to please – and keep in mind: lone wolf is not equal to sneaky or covert.
But Shatter – I’m not loud or boisterous or I don’t have a lot of money to physrep stuff!
Write letters. Do roleplay via social media where you dont have to be face-to-face. Sneak around. Rogue stuff. Listen in on conversations. Get into the game economy or politics. Haunt thrift stores. Google crafting tutorials.
Regarding entitlement, plot, and entertainment: There is an onus of responsibility on the back of the players as living participants in the worlds the staff has built for you. If you choose not to interact with those worlds – or the other inhabitants – the world and the other players will choose not to interact with you. Nothing is going to be simply given to you by just existing in the worlds we play pretend within, and it is up to you to maximize the information you are given through plot drops, rumors, and other avenues to be able to strong arm your way into plot channels. Being a “lazy” larper will gain you “lazy” results.
You disagree or agree? Sound off in the comments!
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